Justice Stephen Breyer Interview
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Justice Stephen Breyer Interview


MY NEXT GUEST HAS BEEN ON THE
UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT FOR OVER 20 YEARS. PLEASE WELCOME JUSTICE STEPHEN
BREYER! (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
♪ (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
♪>>Stephen: THANKS FOR BEING
HERE. YOU’RE REALLY CLASSING UP THE
JOINT.>>THANK YOU VERY MUCH.>>Stephen: MAKES ME FEEL VERY
IMPORTANT TO HAVE YOU HERE BECAUSE, USUALLY, WHEN YOU’RE
SOMEPLACE, SOMETHING BIG IS BEING DECIDED, RIGHT?>>SOMETIMES.>>Stephen: YES. (LAUGHTER)
SO WHAT’S IT LIKE TO BE A SUPREME COURT JUSTICE? IS IT A GOOD JOB?>>THE BIGGEST BENEFIT,
PARTICULARLY AS YOU GET OLDER, IS YOU TAKE EVERY MINUTE OF IT
VERY SERIOUSLY, AND IT CALLS FOR YOU TO PUT FORTH YOUR BEST EVERY
SINGLE MINUTE. (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
>>Stephen: LIFETIME APPOINTMENT. WOULD YOU RECOMMEND THAT FOR
EVERYONE? (LAUGHTER)
THAT’S JOB SECURITY!>>THIS IS ABSOLUTELY TRUE. IT MAKES ME THINK OF MY FATHER,
BECAUSE MY FATHER’S SACRED ADVICE TO ME —
>>Stephen: YES? — STAY ON THE PAYROLL. (LAUGHTER)
>>Stephen: NEVER QUIT? NO.>>Stephen: NEVER QUIT ANY
JOB. THAT’S GOOD ADVICE. NOW, DO YOU EVER HAVE MOMENTS OF
DOUBT, SIR? YOU GET UP IN THE MORNING,
YOU’RE ABOUT TO DECIDE SOME OF THE BIG CASES AND YOU’RE SHAVING
AND YOU GO, WHY ME? WHY DO I GET TO BE ONE OF THE
NINE PEOPLE TO MAKE THE CALL HERE?>>THE ANSWER TO THAT IS OF
COURSE YOU DO. OF COURSE, YOU DO. THE FIRST THREE TO FIVE YEARS ON
THE COURT, YOU MAY LOOK VERY CONFIDENT, BUT THAT ISN’T HOW
YOU’RE FEELING. DAVID SOUDER TOLD ME THAT. IT TAKES A PERIOD OF TIME.>>Stephen: IS THERE A BANKING
MACHINE, ANYTHING LIKE THAT?>>IF YOU THINK ABOUT IT —
>>Stephen: I’M THINKING ABOUT IT NOW.>>AS A JUNIOR JUSTICE WHEN
WE’RE SITTING IN OUR CONFERENCE ROOM, BY OURSELVES, WE DISCUSS
THE CASES ALONE, AND IT’S THE JOB OF THE JUNIOR JUSTICE, WHICH
I WAS FOR 11 YEARS, IN CASE SOMEONE KNOCKS ON THE DOOR, I
OPEN IT. (LAUGHTER)
>>Stephen: YEAH, SO YOU’RE LIKE A PLEDGE.>>IN A SENSE. THERE MIGHT BE A PAPER. THERE MIGHT BE SOMETIMES THERE
WAS COFFEE, AND ACTUALLY THERE WAS QUITE A GOOD REMARK, SOMEONE
BROUGHT A JUSTICE COFFEE AND I SAID —
>>Stephen: HE SAID — HE SAID, YOU HAVE BEEN DOING
THIS FOR SOME TIME AND I SAID, YES, I’VE GOTTEN VERY GOOD AT
IT. HE SAID, I’M NOT SURE.>>Stephen: A.C., THAT’S YOU,
LET’S GO! (LAUGHTER)
YOU HAVE A NEW BOOK CALLED “THE COURT AND THE WORLD,” AMERICAN
LAW AND THE NEW GLOBAL REALITY.>>YES.>>Stephen: THE SUPREME COURT
IS ABOUT THE LAST PLACE IN AMERICA WHERE I COULDN’T BRING
MY CAMERA CREW IN TO SHOOT WHAT THE GOVERNMENT IS DOING, TO GET
A VIDEO OF WHAT THE GOVERNMENT IS DOING. WHY CAN’T WE WATCH YOU? IF THE SUPREME COURT REPEATEDLY
RULES WE CAN BE WATCHED BY THE GOVERNMENT?>>AND THERE ARE VERY GOOD
ARGUMENTS IN FAVOR OF WHAT YOU’RE SAYING.>>Reporter: I JUST MADE A
VERY GOOD ONE. IF YOU HAD CAMERAS IN THE
COURTROOM, YOU COULD JUST PUT THE BOOK ON THE EDGE OF YOUR
DESK, AND YOU WOULDN’T HAVE TO BE HERE RIGHT NOW.>>RIGHT THERE, IN JUST WHAT YOU
SAID, YOU’VE GIVEN PART OF THE ANSWER. YOU SEE? I’M IN A JOB WHERE WE WEAR BLACK
ROBES IN PART BECAUSE WE’RE SPEAKING FOR THE LAW. EVERYBODY KNOWS WE’RE HUMAN
BEINGS –>>Stephen: AND PART TO MAKE
YOU SPOOK J.>>THAT’S A THOUGHT. BUT THE COUNTRY DOESN’T WANT TO
KNOW THE CONSTITUTION ACCORDING TO BREYER OR O’CONNOR. THEY WANT TO KNOW WHAT THE
ANSWER TO THIS THING IS. THAT’S TRUE OF THE PROCESS. IF YOU HAD CAMERAS RIGHT THERE
IN THE PROCESS OF ORAL ARGUMENT, IF YOU HAD THAT, WE DON’T KNOW
WHAT THE REACTION EXACTLY WOULD BE AMONG THE LAWYERS AND OTHERS. THE ORAL ARGUMENT IS ABOUT 5% OF
THE BASIS FOR DECIDING A CASE. IT’S ALMOST ALL IN WRITING. THE TOUGHEST PART ABOUT THIS
QUESTION YOU POSED IS THIS — WHEN I’M DECIDING A CASE, I’M
DECIDING IT FOR 315 MILLION PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT IN THAT
COURTROOM. THE RULE OF LAW, THE RULE OF
INTERPRETATION, IT APPLIES TO EVERYBODY. BUT HUMAN BEINGS CORRECTLY AND
DECENTLY RELATE TO PEOPLE THEY SEE, AND THEY’LL SEE TWO
LAWYERS, AND THEY’LL SEE TWO CLIENTS. WILL THEY UNDERSTAND THE WHOLE
STORY? WILL THEY UNDERSTAND WHAT WE’RE
DOING? WILL THERE BE DISTORTION? NOW, THAT’S THE ARGUMENT AGAINST
YOU. THE ARGUMENT FOR YOU IS IT WOULD
BE A FABULOUS EDUCATIONAL PROCESS.>>Stephen: AND PRETTY
ENTERTAINING SOMETIMES, TOO.>>NO. (LAUGHTER)
>>Stephen: I DISAGREE. BUT LET’S TALK ABOUT DISAGREEING
FOR A SECOND. YOU GO TO WORK EVERY DAY AND
MANAGE TO GET YOUR JOB DONE WITH A GROUP OF NINE PEOPLE, HALF OF
WHOM WILL DISAGREE WITH YOU VEHEMENTLY ON A HOST OF
DIFFERENT ISSUES. HOW COME YOU GUYS MANAGE TO KEEP
DOING YOUR JOB AND THE REST OF THE GOVERNMENT CAN’T?>>WHEN WE’RE SITTING AROUND
THAT TABLE –>>Stephen: YEAH? (APPLAUSE)
>>I DON’T KNOW ABOUT LEAVE THE REST OF THE GOVERNMENT OUT OF
IT, BUT I WILL SAY WHEN WE’RE SITTING AROUND THE TABLE, THE
NINE OF US DISCUSSING, I HAVE BEEN THERE OVER 20 YEARS, 21, I
HAVE NEVER HEARD A VOICE RAISED IN ANGER. I HAVE NEVER HEARD ONE MEMBER OF
OUR COURT SAY SOMETHING INSULTING ABOUT ANOTHER, NOT
EVEN AS A JOKE. OF COURSE, WE DISAGREE. WE DISAGREE ABOUT HALF THE TIME. WE’RE UNANIMOUS ABOUT HALF THE
TIME. AND WE’RE 5-4, NOT ALWAYS THE
SAME, AND WE’RE 20% OR SO, AND WE FEEL IT QUITE STRONGLY, BUT
THE DISCUSSION IS PROFESSIONAL, IT IS SERIOUS, AND IT IS NOT
PERSONAL, AND WE ARE GOOD FRIENDS DESPITE THE FACT THAT WE
AGREE SOME OF THE TIME AND WE DISAGREE OTHERS OF THE TIME.>>Stephen: YOU’RE YELLING AT
ME RIGHT NOW. YOU’RE YELLING AT ME RIGHT NOW. (LAUGHTER)
JUSTICE BREYER, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING ME! “THE COURT AND THE WORLD”! THANK YOU, SIR!

100 Comments

  • Juan F

    I bet if there were no cameras in the U.S Congress there would be more co-operation. Instead what we have are clowns throwing filibusters as a show for their constituents .

  • PaddySnuffles

    As a Latino-German, I know yelling. I know it well. It's practically my first language. At the end there, that wasn't yelling, that was speaking passionately. When you're discussing a topic that's important to you, you nturally get excited about making your point.

  • Paul Meekin

    Dude this show is teaching me and entertaining me more than I could possibly hope. You gotta get the full episodes up on here!

  • Lew Rodd

    Americans can thank their lucky stars they still have people in power who can be relied upon to look after the country and keep the BS and media noise outside where it belongs, there is no substitute for an education and the experience of life and the world.

  • tsbrownie

    They ruled that older people can be fired because they are "too expensive" but not because they are "too old" (wink, wink). We should require our "leaders" to live by the rules they require the rest of us live by.

  • Atif Choudhury

    Yeah asking about Citizens United would have been interesting, but asking about the rule against cameras in the courtroom was fantastic. I always thought it was such an odd and outdated practice given that the audio files of the oral arguments are available. Justice Breyer's answer was really illuminating.

  • Fabsmaster5

    We need to pay more attention to people like this. Unfortunately we don't because they are not as entertaining to most people.

  • Hindukush

    Bullshit Justice Breyer you make your money off Americans 250,000 plus, and speaking engagements in Europe and Asia net you $$$$$$ . You hide your money on Nevis and the locals hate you so much, they home invade you? Why because you bought the best places on Nevis to live. The ancestral lands of locals who could pass everywhere with real freedom's. Places where locals played as innocent children in open fields with a carefree demeanor and now…? Nevis a tiny community oppressed by BIG international money that welcomes Rich Americans just like Justice Breyer into Nevis by a corrupt Nevis government. That settled, how can you (Justice Breyer) really look at yourself in the mirror and Judge indifferently… Nevis has no inheritance tax.. #1 that would be first red flag.. I have a problem with life long terms. Second red Flag Dual nationality in Nevis.

    Most important is that the Rich Nevis invaders are partitioned off from local society. The rich people like Justice Breyer of the world do not integrate with the poor local people ever. I can say that with authority because all the honest people would rat that Justice Breyer invader out??????? They pay very little for services. HA can you see Justice Breyer handing a dread locked nice, local man a check each week for lawn care????? Never.. A semi trusted low payed innocent Nevis servant and not a family friend would give payment for services rendered.. Locals and elite never mix….

    Your greedy people,

     who are acutely aware that the local populace resent you,…… OOP'S now how about America?????????????????????????????????????????????????//

    Your old vote a new mind set fucker,,,ssssssss

  • NCTRNL

    These 9 men hr speaks of should be a leading example of a civilized American citizen, but still, the rest of the world anxiously awaits too see the result of the question: how collectively devided and incompetent are Americans really

  • BW

    No. Don't put cameras in any courtroom. Why? Examples like the OJ Simpson trial. The media will slant it, and sometimes that's not towards justice. Whether OJ did it or not, one thing is for sure, the media fucked that case up. They also screwed OJ out of justice. He may have gotten what he didn't deserve. They had to keep picking jurors who "knew nothing about the case" lmfao. Pretty hard to do. I wonder if some of them lied! Justice is fair when the facts win out. That's not always possible, cameras or not. Shit, even the hand drawn cartoons of court cases can fuck justice over too. They can convict an innocent person or get them off the hook. Fuck this idea. Stupid as fuck. Reform the media, then set laws on what they can report and how. Oh wait…. that's against the Constitution. Not a good idea, guys. Would be very fucking cool though to watch SCOTUS cases go down. Sorry, probably not a good idea at this point in time.

  • Atticus Lee

    Can we all remember that Colbert doesn't have a political show anymore so it is his job to be entertaining not to ask hard hitting questions. He's a comedian not Anderson Cooper

  • GenericFakeName

    Dude, I can't even comprehend working a job that requires that concentration for twenty years. I mean that's two years longer than I've been alive. I've done some dumb stuff, he has been required to be smart for two decades…damn.

  • tecwarrior7

    I say we should use the "Real Animals fake paws" John Oliver uses in the Supreme Court arguments instead of arguing getting cameras in the courts.

  • Grady Bledsoe

    If they let cameras in the court it would become a circus like congress and the senate. The media should be shut out. Every time one of them made a statement the media would make a big deal about it and hound them to death over it.

  • Tim Bro

    hrm, I love you Stephen, and as your friend (we go back a long way) I feel it's ok if I point out that if you focus more on the comedy then attempting to gather valid information, you are straying from your success formula

  • Ryan Harris

    Great video man, you got me taking notes over here!  You and this other artist Hunnid got me thinking about starting a new channel and doing more on YouTube.  You should check him out… His videos are on my page.

  • Bright Eyes

    I think the Justices don't yell at each other even when they disagree on something, because they all have job security. Winning or losing an argument has no bearing on whether they can keep the job, or get a promotion.

  • Peaceistheanswer27

    A Supreme Court Justice ranks atop the most powerful position in the USA. Though they don't weigh in on foreign affairs, they have the final say on everything domestic

  • Nomaj K

    "Never heard a voice raised in anger" Think what will happen when the belligerent Brett Kavanaugh gets on the Supreme Court.

  • veronica eve

    Im sorry but this man looks like a turttle. Wise, dinasour looking, slow methodical answers. I love Stephen and the late show crew. They truly have diverse guests that promote and open floorplan for thought, well done 🖖

  • j7286

    Perhaps the Supreme Court justices disagreeing without throwing tantrums is due to the fact they have lifetime appointments and are not fundraising and campaigning on the taxpayers' dime every second of their workday. Just a thought.

  • Monique Liddle

    It was an excellent and interesting experience and interview until Stephen cut him off at the end. It seemed as if Stephen wanted to spend more time cracking jokes than listening to what Supreme Court Justice was saying.

  • Tom Scott

    wow, what a pipe dream. the system as a whole operates NOTHING close to the way he describes. for those who want to know the truth: www.stloiyf.com

  • Chris Ducat

    I disagree with Breyer too: I've heard the audio recordings of the Supreme court (google "Oyez law") and they are very dynamic…the justices are more interesting than they let on. It would be very popular on CSPAN 😛

  • Serena Chang

    He talks about very profound professionalism at the end of the show, I hope the host cooperates with him to highlight his characters and the US justice professions other than only making humour.

  • Oliver Phippen

    Isn't it predictable that when the Dims are loosing they want to change the rules ????
    They want to change the electoral college AFTER they loose but not before
    They want to assign term limits to SCOTUS as they see the COURT slipping away ???
    They don't want the illegals to be PLACED in Sanctuary cities ???
    Tell me that is not a sign of desperation ??
    They hate Gerry mandering EXCEPT the Somali community in Minnesota ??

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